I personally was intrigued by an Arabian Nights theme, but then I grew to love these characters. The story is very original, drawing from the 1001 Nights without following it directly. Aladdin is an adorable character who is quite easy to laugh at, along with Alibaba. As the story progesses, more characters are introduced, making the interactions better, and much much funnier.
Magi is a superpower/adventure show, loosely based on the anthology of the Arabian fairy tales A Thousand and One Nights. It later on blends in elements from other cultures as well, so at least on a superficial level it has variety in its locations and backgrounds. The protagonists are Aladdin and Ali Baba (friends, not enemies), who are looking for fabled treasures inside magical caves full of traps and wonders. Yet their dungeon crawler adventures are soon halted by various bad guys who are out to torture people and make money.
- Animated by A-1 Pictures, a studio with very good production values and behind many famous anime. None of them are amazing though and they love to turn to silly fluff even the most serious and dark stories.
- Directed by Masunari Kouji, who has made several silly anime, most of which are enjoyable to the most part, but none are anything particularly great.
- Based on the manga by Ootaka Shinobu, who has also drawn and adapted Sumomomo Momomo. I don’t like her art style and her stories are too light and goofy for my taste.
It is an eye-catchy show with a lot of antithesis between cheery bright colors of fluffiness and dark depressing colors of agony and thriller. It doesn’t look particularly great for any given reason and even the songs are simply ok. It covers all the basics of a good teen adventure but rather waters it a lot more than it should with goofball comedy and light fan service.
A thing that Magi does very well is to have a sense of adventure, as every new place they go to has its own style and themes that need exploring and dealt with. It is indeed like those old fairy tales that was making your imagination go wild. A thing that doesn’t do so well is to be anything more significant past that. You see, it tries desperately to be many more than just that. It has high amounts of boob jokes, violence, and crazy villains who love to torture people for fun; thus expands to social commentary, morals, and even respecting the lives of those weaker than you. These themes are simply there, not really looked into past mentioning them and dealing with them in a black or white manner. Basically, the show has a very naive morality thrown amidst a setting that would normally require far more realism and grey handling. It’s like trying to solve world hunger with the power of friendship.
Speaking of power, there are dozens of magic items in the show that contain genies and other sorts of powerful forces that can be used in battle. Aladdin for example has a magic flute that summons a huge genie to aid them when they are in trouble, but he refrains from using it unless it is of grave importance since it feeds from Aladdin’s… stomach. Nice excuse to make the protagonist need of eating a lot for a change. In a similar fashion many other characters have such items that they use to achieve their goals.
A thing that will disappoint most is that the show ends prematurely. Although the anime went for an original ending, it still feels like it left out a lot of side stories and revelations. So in case you expect a long storyline that will end in a satisfying way… stop hoping.
So what goals and objectives does this show have anyway? Well, more or less every ambitious person in this world wants to get on his hands these magic items that he will use in order to become a powerful emperor, or to help his people. You have both selfishness and selfness at play, and they are presented in a most polarized manner. The bad guys are one dimensional assholes with no redeeming qualities and the good guys are saints who are already picture-perfect. That makes characterization to feel very shallow and in many cases irritating. You won’t believe how dumb everybody behaves or how many times I wanted to punch Aladdin in the teeth for acting like a 10 year old girl scout who wants to share rainbows and unicorns with everyone.
Not that he is as pure as he seems, since he and most others in this show are horny deviants who love to fondle breasts. And the camera never misses the chance to zoom on bare legs. It’s light fan service but it’s there all the time! I can’t say it adds anything to the context, since nobody seems to be “having any” out of screen. There is also a rather high amount of blood, torture, mention of rape, slavery, skeletons, and other creepy stuff to make the whole show to appear even darker.
Of course it is still light as heck, since as I said it is still black or white all the time and the characters turn to deformed blobs all the time for the sake of silly comedy. There is nothing you can’t magically fix if you have enough firepower on your side. It is very disappointing to see so many grim and serious situations to be solved just by Aladdin blowing his flute and summoning his genie to save the day and dance happily with everyone around the campfire. So the build up to every major conflict in this show may seem serious and dark but the resolve is always rushed, convenient, and always soooo cheery that seems completely out of place with everything else going on in the background.
As far as said build up goes, it is very good for such a type of a show. There are these empires, and those evil kings, and gangs of criminals, and they all look for a man to unite them all, and boobs, and spells cast by huge nipple-piercing genies. It is going to look brilliant in the eyes of 10 year olds, especially in our current years when most new shonen are total crap. So in a way this is like a bit darker Fairy Tail, but still immature and superficial. Although it can be a nice time waster thanks to its lively adventures and good production values, it just lacks something noteworthy to remember it for, and thus next to other titles such as Hunter X Hunter and Full Metal Alchemist, it is nothing but a “watch once and forget” type of anime.
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 7/10
General Artwork 2/2 (looks like a fairy tale)
Character Figures 1/2 (generic)
Backgrounds 2/2 (fitting with the feeling of the series)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 1/2 (basic)
SOUND SECTION: 7/10
Voice Acting 2/3 (corny but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Music Themes 3/4 (not great but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Sound Effects 2/3 (ok I guess)
STORY SECTION: 3/10
Premise 1/2 (typical)
Pacing 1/2 (erratic)
Complexity 1/2 (not much)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 0/2 (open)
CHARACTER SECTION: 4/10
Presence 1/2 (generic)
Personality 1/2 (way too good or way too evil)
Backdrop 1/2 (generic and simplistic but it’s there)
Development 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
Catharsis 0/2 (none; the show is incomplete)
VALUE SECTION: 3/10
Historical Value 0/3 (none)
Rewatchability 1/3 (low because of the simple plot)
Memorability 2/4 (I liked the setting and the themes but the presentation is weak)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 3/10
Art 1/1 (looks like a fairy tale)
Sound 0/2 (sounds meh)
Story 1/3 (feels epic but plays out childishly)
Characters 1/4 (way too good or way too evil)
Now at the top of this review you will see that I did not finish this anime, I watch 12 episodes and then the 25(last) one and then dropped. This is a 6, which means below my recommend standard. I would not recommend this anime. "was it really that horrible" you ask? No, the animations were gorgeous, there was just the right amount of fan service, and it was pretty funny too. "so why would you not recommend it"? allow me to explain in my usual report.
Story: this would have been an 8, the story is interesting and adventerous. HOWEVER, and if you have seen my other reviews then you know that I hate arc/prob of the day style animes. This one was in arcs, which isnt always bad, but usually and like in Magi, it weakened the end game of the anime. I have been reading on some forums and it seems like A-1 studios is really good at making anime look pretty, but doing their own Original Anime Ending, and messing up everything. Case and Point, Magi. 7 for decent, but arc style and not having a particularly strong ending.
Animation: was beautiful, 10, loved it
Sound: had a good number of soundtracks, and some pretty cool ones, voice actors were nice and solid and pretty convincing. 9
Characters: this got a little weird, I just watched Samurai 7 and the characters in that one got a bit weird too, in very much the same way. Sinbad ended up filling a spot that Alibab should have start to fill as he developed, and alladdin, acting or seeming like he didnt know that much, seemed to know more then he should for as ignorant as he sounded. Morgiana was ok, and I watched the last episode so a little spoiler on her character type SPOILER shes a tsudere, and by the end you can tell she loves alibaba END SPOILER
characters were kinda weird right in the middle though, and alibaba was being way too much of a pacifist to be interesting really, it was pissing me off. A good anime has a main character who has the balls, but also the wisdom to do what needs to be done. I was not getting that from Alibaba, I was getting that from Sinbad. which seemed way weird.
overall: the decent but not overbearing fan service, the amazing visuals, and the humor was what kept me in for so long. But due to the way the story ended up(and apparently it diverged from the manga) and the arc style gives it a 6 for me.
I only recommend watching if you are really hell bent on wasting some time for the lulz. in that case just enjoy the scenery the humor and the little bit of fanservicy stuff.
In my opinion this feels kind of overlooked. It isnt one of the mainstream animes, it rarely features in peoples toplists. It deserves more.
I strongly recommend this if you liked Fullmetal Alchemist and Brotherhood. Altough they dont look too similar at first, they are basically the same thing with different themes. Both are situated in a world pretty similar to ours with some level of superpowers a few people posess, they both have a lot of politics involved in the mix. We have a secret society that act behind the shadows, causes wars and powerty, they also have some elite soldiers wich are used as disposable pawns. The artwork is really similar in style and quality, the battles look good. Sometimes alchemist circles make appearances. We have a lot of different charcaters involved. We even have a gate of wisdom which reminded me of the gate of truth. The main character is a blond guy...
As you can see, the anime has big issues with originality. A lot of ideas are stolen from FMA even though they are used pretty well.
Story: it has a pretty good story, I dont want to get into details. Having the whole thing placed in the arab world in a 1001 nights theme gives you a great opportunity to work with characters that are half-done, it also gives you the chance to create fantastic artwork. There are some logical holes in the mix however.
(for example SPOILER how could Alibaba do a dark equip when he didnt even get completely taken over by darkness Cassim died after it, Alibaba didnt, also with Ugo: if Aladdin is not his master, why does he get tired using the flute, Ugo himself said later on that Aladdin cant give him power, why cant Ugo get summoned with a head? Aladdin managed to summon Paimon in full body, so why not Ugo. some of these problems may be resolved in the upcoming season, but some of them will remain logical holes).
The big plus is that they dont try to be child-friendly. Prostitutes, mass murder, hunger, death of good frinends. If you stage most of it in a realistic-ish theme, its a big plus to include the dark side of thing.(another similarity with FMA)
Not a bad story, but could have been better, also a big problem with originality. 5/10
Animation: On the same level as FMA slightly below SAO. Great artwork, they used the full potential of the theme given. The characters, the background, the eyes, they all look great. Its modern and stylish. See for youreself. 9.5/10
Music: Besides the occasional not so perfect choice of music it sound really good. The musci does a lot to estabilish the whole arab world feeling. 9/10
Characters: We have a lot. Aladdin, Sinbad are great characters. Alibaba is sometimes a little annoying, he is jumping between decided badass and crybaby. The secondary characters are also pretty good. The charcaters are way inferior to the ones in FMA, but still, they get the job done. 7/10
Overall: definitely a worthwhile watch. I didnt really care for the fight scenes, what got me was the great artwork. As I said before if you liked FMA, chances are you will like this too. There are some mistakes that beg to be corrected and if they do so in the second season, the whole thing will only get better. Usually the story is the msot important thing when I give an overall score, but here, even though it isn original, they handled the stolen ideas with care. The biggest problem is the growing amount of supernatural in the story, because the simple part are usually much better and even more visually appealing without fight scenes.
With so many characters, different point of views, and all, this isn't the usal type of anime I would like. However, I love it!! It's very unique. Set in an Arabic style scene and time, it has action, adventure, fantasy, drama, slice of life, a bit of romance, and a bit of mystery. The storyline is an epic journey where the three main characters meet and go through adventures together and individually. It's more real life based. Some characters in this show die, get hurt, and/or go through a change of heart and mindset. The characters grow with their experience.
They meet so many wonderful and terrible people along their way and visit different cities. Each main character has their own story to tell that's intertwined with each other and their own background. This anime will make you cry, laugh, get tense, feel their pain, and more. The music is wonderful and there isn't an episode, in my opinion, that won't leave you wanting to see more! It's quite addicting and loveable. The main characters that come, go, and stay make the anime even more beautiful. The end of the first season is phenominal. You must take the time to see this through!!!